Entrainment to the Other in Conversational Speech – Julia Hirschberg (Columbia University)

February 22, 2011 all-day

When people engage in conversation, they adapt the way they speak to the speaking style of their conversational partner in a variety of ways. For example, they may adopt a certain way of describing something based upon the way their conversational partner describes it, or adapt their pitch range or speaking rate to a conversational partner’s. They may even align their turn-taking style or use of cue phrases to match their partner’s. These types of entrainment have been shown to correlate with various measures of task success and dialogue naturalness. While there is considerable evidence for lexical entrainment from laboratory experiments, less is known about other types of acoustic-prosodic and discourse-level entrainment and little work has been done to examine entrainments in multiple modalities for the same dialogue. I will discuss research in entrainment in multiple dimensions on the Columbia Games Corpus and the Switchboard Corpus. Our goal is to understand how the different varieties of entrainment correlate with one another and to determine which types of entrainment will be both useful and feasible to model in Spoken Dialogue Systems. (This is joint research with Rivka Levitan and Erica Cooper, Columbia University; Agustin Gravano, University of Buenos Aires; Ani Nenkova, University of Pennsylvania; Stefan Benus, Constantine the Philosopher University; and Jens Edlund and Mattias Heldner, KTH.)
Julia Hirschberg is a professor in the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University. She received her PhD in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania, after previously doing a PhD in sixteenth-century Mexican social history at the University of Michigan and teaching history at Smith. She worked at Bell Laboratories and AT&T Laboratories — Research from 1985-2003 as a Member of Technical Staff and a Department Head, creating the Human-Computer Interface Research Department there. She has also served as editor-in-chief of Computational Linguistics from 1993-2003 and was an editor-in-chief of Speech Communication from 2003-2006 and is now on the Editorial Board. Julia was on the Executive Board of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) from 1993-2003, has been on the Permanent Council of International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP) since 1996, and served on the board of the International Speech Communication Association (ISCA) from 1999-2007 (as President 2005-2007). She is on the board of the CRA-W and has been active in working for diversity at AT&T and at Columbia. Julia has also been a fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence since 1994 and an ISCA Fellow since 2008. She received a Columbia Engineering School Alumni Association (CESAA) Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award in 2009.

Center for Language and Speech Processing